Rhamnus alaternus 'Argenteovariegata'

Italian buckthorn

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Key information

Plant type

Evergreen shrub

Flower colour



Flowers, Fruit, Dramatic foliage



Skill level


photo by Fiona McLeod, copyright GAP Photos (87821)

Plant details

One of the most beautiful of all variegated evergreens, this is coveted by gardeners and flower arrangers alike. The species comes from Portugal and has been cultivated for centuries, proving itself a useful hardy shrub for hedging and specimen planting. The variety 'Argenteovariegata' ('Variegata') is more tender and needs protection in inland gardens. It tolerates shade and will find safety on a sheltered north wall, or plants may be covered with fleece if temperatures fall below -5C (23F). Plants can be clipped into topiary shapes or left to grow naturally. Cut out any green shoots you find to keep the foliage variegated. To propagate, take cuttings in summer. The Royal Horticultural Society have given it their prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

Family: Rhamnaceae

Genus: Rhamnus

Species: alaternus

Cultivar: Argenteovariegata

Plant type: Evergreen shrub

Flower colour: Yellow

Foliage colour: Silver variegation

Feature: Flowers, Fruit, Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Experienced

Height: 500cm

Spread: 400cm

Time to take cuttings: June to August

Reader reviews


I have this against a north east wall. I have had it about 5 years and is slow to grow. It is only 2ft after 5 years. I don't really want it to grow much taller so it's fine for me. Having just read that it can be clipped into topiary I might try this.

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